CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Magnolia's move from Class AA to Class A at the start of the 2012-13 school year was expected by some to be quickly accompanied by dominance in boys major sports.
Those expectations were fueled not only by the school's history of success in Class AA, but also the personnel on its current basketball, football and baseball teams.
Through two seasons among the division, including the state's smallest schools, Magnolia has yet to win a state championship. It does, however, have two all-state captains to its credit.
The West Virginia Sports Writers Association named Blue Eagle senior forward Mark Winters captain of the Class A all-state boys basketball team. Winters averaged 28.5 points and 12 rebounds and became the 20th player in Mountain State prep basketball history to surpass the 2,000-point career scoring mark, leading Magnolia to a 21-5 record and a state tournament berth.
Winters said the school's first season in Class A was an eye-opener.
"I was kind of bummed about dropping to single-A, but I've realized there's a lot of good players in it," he said. "Brewer, Newsome, George, to name a few. It's a great honor to be named captain."
Winters knows his competition well. Unbeknownst to him, he named three other all-state first-team selections in relating his list of quality small-school players.
The Tug Valley guard duo of Austin Brewer and Mikey Newsome led the Panthers - who also dropped to Class A this season - to their second consecutive state championship. Tug won the Class AA title in 2012.
Both seniors, Newsome led the Panthers in scoring, at 17.8 points per game while Brewer ran the point and did more than a little of everything for the club. He averaged 15.1 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game for coach Garland "Rabbit" Thompson's team, which finished the season with a 25-3 record.